Canadian researchers have, for the first time, shown the link between brain inflammation and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to a new study.
Around 350 million people have depression worldwide – 5% of the world’s population. Persistent depression, rather than short bouts – can have a different impact on the brain.
The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ran an analysis of people who had depression for more than 10 years. They discovered that doctors need to treat the depression and the inflammation itself in these patients.
The average untreated bout of depression usually lasts a few months according to Harvard University. While symptoms can vary in their severity and duration, it’s generally considered as feeling consistently ‘low in mood’.
Depression can be difficult to diagnose however due to its staying power. Some of the symptoms may be considered as ‘normal’ for the affected person however. Many speculate this is why the average age for diagnosis is rather late – at 31 years old.
Most research looks at the physical consequences of depression. It points to the experience of pain and the likelihood of developing other mental illnesses – rather than its underlying causes.
What Causes Depression?
A shortage of serotonin in the brain can cause depression. Serotonin is the neurochemical that nerve cells use to communicate a command for blood vessels to constrict.
Inflammation is believed to destroy serotonin, and this is why some scientists are now suggesting that inflammation itself may be the cause of depression. Habits and tendencies associated with depression include loss of appetite and upset stomach.
Researchers from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that the longer the bouts of depression increased brain inflammation.
The research team looked at three groups of 25 people. The first group had experienced depression for a decade, the second group less than a decade and the third group had never experienced any depression. The difference between the persistent depressive disorder (PDD) sufferers and the other groups was dramatic.
People who had been depressed for more than a decade had 30% more of a protein marker of brain-inflammation than those experiencing short-term depression. Their inflammation levels were also higher than in the group that had never experienced depression.
This is one of the first studies to show that depression has significant effects on the brain, depending on its severity and how long it lasts.
Inflammation is also a common response with degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. This has suggested that long-term depression could be treated in a similar way to these serious cognitive conditions.
Conventional medicine would advise using prescription medications to get better. Yet there is a natural, safer solution for preventing or improving depression symptoms.
A Natural Treatment Plan For Depression
Getting out into the sunshine to get more Vitamin D3 is a good idea. This can boost serotonin levels – improving your emotional health. Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium are also good for balancing moods and providing relief for depression.
Calcium can help to relax the central nervous system. Magnesium assists in energy production and has been found to treat depression better than anti-depressant drugs. While Potassium is necessary for cell membrane health.
Meditation, getting outside into nature for daily walks, practicing mindfulness exercises and deep breathing all help. By combining a healthy diet and lifestyle plan, it’s possible to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of depression over time.
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